I was scared of everything as a kid (Harry from Harry and the Hendersons? Check! Ghost Librarian from Ghostbusters? Check! E.T.? GET THAT FUCKING THING AWAY FROM ME), but one of the more potent entries on the "Why Erik can't sleep tonight" list was Roald Dahl's The Witches, a book that suggested seemingly nice old ladies are actually hideous demons in disguise who are out to doom children and ruin the world. It's scary because the 2016 election proved it to be true!
Now comes the news that Netflix has bought up the rights to a whole lot of Roald Dahl stuff—including Matilda, The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Twits, Esio Trot, Dahl’s memoirs, and more—with the goal of creating an animated "story universe," because it's 2018 and all filmed entertainment is legally required to be part of a universe. Notably missing from the list are a couple of Dahl's biggest stories: James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and, yes, The Witches.
As an allegedly advanced society, we have gone entirely too long without The Witches scaring the shit out of our children. The last film adaptation, from 1990 and directed by Nicolas Roeg (RIP), contained this horrifying scene in which Anjelica Huston demanded the extermination of all children and also freaked out poor Mr. Bean.
While some of the omissions in Netflix's buying spree are a bit odd (Fantastic Mr. Fox, which a few years ago got an excellent adaptation from Wes Anderson, isn't included, but The BFG, which a few years ago got a less-than-excellent adaptation from Steven Spielberg, is), there's probably a reason why The Witches isn't in the Netflix deal: Robert Zemeckis is threatening to make a new movie. Given Zemeckis' recent work, that doesn't bode terribly well, though on the upside, Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón are producing. But hey, it's something, and hopefully it's something that will instill a fresh new terror in our children so that they never, ever trust the elderly.